During a speech at the 5th Annual Energy Storage Symposium, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel gave a keynote speech that was very revealing about how Tesla sees itself and where it sees opportunities in the future. Elon Musk has always said that his reason for creating Tesla and SolarCity was that he wanted to catalyze both the production and consumption of clean energy. It looks like Tesla will have a role to play not only in the consumption part, but also in the storage of renewable energy, which often comes from intermittent sources like wind and solar.
Tesla CTO JB Straubel was the keynote speaker at the annual energy storage symposium put on by Joint Venture Silicon Valley this week. He was previously the CTO of Volacom, is a Stanford grad and sits on SolarCity’s board. Long before joining Tesla, Straubel built a record-setting electric Porsche 944. Straubel emphasized the speed at which battery performance is improving, pointing out that the state of the art for EVs in the 1990s was lead-acid batteries. “Lithium-ion changed the game” in range, energy density and cycle life, according to the CTO, who added, “That was the catalyzing event that launched Tesla.” He continued: “In 2003, no one was doing lithium-ion batteries for consumer cars,” and now, “almost every automaker has a lithium-ion” vehicle in their roadmap. He called the improvements in battery technology over the last ten years “amazing.”